With the exorbitant cost of child care and a widespread lack of decent maternity leave, the Australian Bureau reports that about 73% of women take a career break to care for young children, aging parents or other family reasons.
More than 69% of these women wish to re-enter the workforce later, but that gap on the resume is often intimidating. Whether the woman has been out of the workforce for two years or ten, all women agree that the resume gap is real and challenging to overcome.
But before we jump into any conclusions, we want to tell women that they have reason to feel optimistic about returning to work after a hiatus.
Even if the willingness to hire someone, after the career gap, might be low, things are changing in the business world for the better. Many companies have realized that women with career gaps have a lot to offer to an employer.
Forward looking organizations are beginning to recognize how women struggle to get back into the workplace and are open to talk about it. Not only that, they also want to empower women with the resources needed to re-enter the workforce.
While we see these progressive companies are coming forth to help women, for the most part women are left to themselves to figure things out. That’s why, in this article, we wanted to share six tips that can help women prepare themselves to re-join the workforce.
- Tip #1: Get Clarity
- Tip #2: Update Your Knowledge And Skill Set
- Tip #3: Ask Your Network Of People
- Tip #4: Be Open To Talk About Your Career Breaks
- Tip #5: Have A Mentor
- Tip#6: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Let’s discuss each of these points in detail.
Tip# 1: Get Clarity
We know you’re desperate to get back to work and anxious about getting started.
However, it’s advisable that you don’t just go and start vetting different job posting websites. Instead, take some time off to consider what you want from your workplace.
What type of job will be truly gratifying? And do you want to go back to a role you previously had, or do you want to try something different?
Consider what you’d like to get out of a job, and why (aside from financial reasons) you’re interested in working again.
Get clarity on what kind of job you want to take up, why you want to get back, what’s the kind of work environment you’re looking for, the amount of work flexibility and so on.
Getting back to work won’t be that easy and you don’t want to spend time and effort applying for a job and realizing a few days down the line that it wasn’t the right fit for you, right?
Tip #2: Update Your Knowledge and Skill Set
As per a recent report published by McKinsey Global Institute, as many as 14 percent of the global workforce will have to switch occupations or acquire new skills to continue working in the post pandemic world.
With companies looking for more professional experiences, you can’t carry the old skill set and expect to get the best jobs. So, learn more about how your industry progressed while you were in hiatus and evaluate the relevancy of your earlier experiences. You might use sites like Glassdoor, Angelist, and LinkedIn for this.
This will allow you to be more confident in job interviews plus, you’ll have a lot of clarity about where you stand in your professional life. If your industry has changed leaps and bounds, you might also consider getting some hands-on experience before taking the dive into a full-fledged job through some freelance or internship.
Tip #3: Ask Your Network of People
The best way to get work opportunities is by asking your network if they know of any job opening or available post vacancies. Getting referred by someone is far more likely to get you a job than applying through any job portal. Plus, you save all the hassle that goes into the application process.
Consider attending conferences to network and participate in ongoing conversations. This will help you get back into the groove and prepare you mentally for a comeback. You many also get updated on the latest industry outlook—the big players, the new trends, the market tilt, etc.
So, network with people, join in discussions, and tell people in your industry about your decision to come back to work. Many will come forward to help you and support you in your decision, boosting your confidence and making the process much easier for you.
Tip #4: Be Open to Talk About Your Career Break
Of course, any gap in your resume is likely to raise questions from future employers, so it’s important to figure out how you’re going to present that.
Prepare well-in advance and don’t shy away from talking about your career break. Being transparent and honest about your decisions will be much more appreciated, then trying to dither from the tough conversation.
Whatever your reason for being away, talk about it when asked. Keep it brief, talk about your past achievements, and gently affirm how you’re positive of giving your best in the company if you get the said position.
Tip #5: Get A Career Coach
The biggest block in re-joining the workforce can be your own self-limiting.
A lot of things are contingent on your mindset when you’re re-joining work. Your mindset will make or break you. Plus, it’s difficult to steer in the right direction in today’s competitive business environment all by yourself.
Finding a coach who can help you navigate this path is therefore a good idea.
Your coach can guide you in the right direction and save you the hassle of trials and errors you have to go through to find yourself the right job. They have probably helped people in the past get out of the rut you find yourself in right now.
They can help you set the right mindset and get the confidence you need to re-enter the workforce no matter how tough it may seem.
Tip #6: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
If you are planning to hit the ground and get running, better lace up your boots and psych yourself for it. Dust off that old resume folder, edit it if needed, and start the work.
Highlight your experiences and write a persuasive cover letter for the companies you want to interview with. There might be some very tough questions coming ahead. So, get a list of all the questions that might be asked and how you’ll respond to each one of them.
Prepare your pitch and practice it multiple times before you apply and go for the interview. When you’ve prepared yourself, you’ll be a lot more confident and surer about yourself and your application.
You’ve Got This
While re-entering the workforce after a gap may seem daunting, it’s not that tough. There are many successful examples of women out there who took a break and re-joined work successfully.
You just have to put in the work and believe in yourself.
So, don’t wait. Get started today and use the tips we have discussed in the article to boost your self-confidence, revamp your resume, and get back to work!